*I was provided with a free hardcover and softcover photo book from Collage.com to do this review. The opinions I write below are my own. :)*
A while ago the photo company Collage contacted me and asked if I'd like to review their "One-Click Photo Books." Being the photo book nut that I am, I immediately said yes. :) So I used Collage's website to make and order two books, and I have to tell you, I really really liked their software! Making these photo books was probably the easiest photo book making process I've ever had.
I was able to make two books with Collage: a 11.5"x8.5" hardcover (the same size and format I usually order from Shutterfly) and a 8"x6" softcover. For the hardcover, I decided to make a Christmas present book with some of my favorite pictures from the last year. I chose the pictures and uploaded them to Collage's site, and then clicked their "auto place" button. The "auto place" button immediately placed all the pictures in the book, and gave me an option to make a collage on the cover using all of the pictures. I clicked "yes" to that option, it made the cover - and my book was done! It was seriously that easy. I did rearrange a couple of the pictures on the pages, but that only took a few minutes. I was pretty satisfied with how it put them automatically and there wasn't much to do.
One thing I loooove about Collage's software and wish every photo book company had in their software was what I found when I rearranged pictures on the pages. When I would click and drag a picture, the page would shift around, giving me lots of options for the layout while maintaining each picture's original aspect ratio (shape). One thing I don't like about Shutterfly is that if I want to maintain each picture's aspect ratio (keep it portrait or landscape, and make it show the whole picture), I have to customize each layout that I'm working with. It's really time consuming. I absolutely love that on Collage it maintains the aspect ratio for each picture, and still has a lot of layouts for each page that are so easy to switch between! It's seriously amazing! I know I sound ridiculous, but I seriously love love love Collage's software when it comes to page layouts. It is the best, and so easy.
Okay, so here are the books. Here is the 11.5"x8.5" hardcover:
Close-up of the cover collage:
Some of the inside pages (it's a standard, 20-page book):
And the back, which is white with a small "Collage.com" logo in the middle:
Collage has different background options that you can apply to individual pages or the whole book, but I chose white for the whole book because I just like white. The picture quality is good (though perhaps not quite as sharp as Shutterfly), and the paper quality is good. I did miss the paper end pages that you find in Shutterfly's books or MyPublisher's - the Collage book starts right in on the picture pages without end pages. The binding seems good and secure.
Here's the 8"x6" softcover. For this book, I chose a bunch of pictures of family members, and made it as a kind of "Where's Waldo?" of family for the girls to play with. When it came and I gave it to Ellie, it was an instant hit. She sat on the couch and went through each page, naming each family member. It was just the right size for her to open and look at herself. She carried it around all day, and even insisted on going to sleep with it that night. :)
The two sizes compared (The 8"x6" softcover vs the 11.5"x8.5" hardcover):
And the inside:
So, Collage.com's One-Click Photo Books in a nutshell: I looooved the software. I don't think I can emphasize that enough. This was some of the easiest, best photo book software I have ever worked with. Making a book literally only took a few minutes, and rearranging pictures was so easy that it was fun. Whoever made Collage's software knew what they were doing.
The books themselves are good quality. Again, I wish that the hardcover had endsheets - they're such a good feature! - but the pictures and pages themselves were good quality, and the binding was tight.
If you'd like to check out Collage.com's photo books (or any of their other products - they also make photo blankets, calendars, canvases, etc.), click here: Collage.com.
To see my other photo book reviews, check out the posts below:
Shutterfly Photo Book Review
Shutterfly Premium Leather Layflat Photo Book Review
Shutterfly Calendar Review
York Photo Photo Book Review
AdoramaPix Photo Book Review
MyPublisher Photo Book Review
Photo Book Comparisons